The Ten Most Popular Weights and Their Uses
The right sinker won't bring you down.
Fishing weights, also known as sinkers, are used to hold baits on the bottom of the area being fished, or keep the bait suspended at a certain depth. They also are used to slow the movement of a live or cut bait in a tidal current.
Fishing weights are most commonly made of lead. Lead weights are outlawed due to environmental concerns in a couple of states, including Maine and Mass. Compared to other materials, lead is low in cost, and sinkers are easily made by pouring hot molten lead into molds and letting it cool.
Less popular alternatives are also available, including steel, brass, tungsten and bismuth. These options are more expensive and create a less dense product. Tungsten is a popular choice for bass fishing.
The Top Five Uses for Weights Are:
- Bottom fishing
- Live bait rigs
- Fishing in a current
- To aid in casting
- For trolling
Top 10 Types of Weights
- Barrel Sinkers (Eggs) -- For slip rigs or live bait fishing
- Split-Shots -- Light weight, used for fishing in currents. Can be pinched on or off the line.
- Pyramid Sinkers -- Bottom fishing and fast-moving currents, or surf-fishing.
- Bullet Sinkers – Used mostly for Texas-Rigging plastic worms for bass fishing.
- Bass Casting -- Have snaps and are used with a swivel.
- Keel Bars and Drail -- For trolling -- have swivels and snaps attached to both ends.
- Bank Sinkers -- Tied to the end of a rig or attached to a slide above the hook.
- Rubber-Core or Clinch -- Easy to add or remove and attach above the swivel.
- Drop-Shot Sinkers -- Used for drop-shotting where the hook is above the weight. The sinker breaks away when hung up on structure. Has a clip where no knots are required to tie the weight on.
- Bell Sinkers aka Dipsey Sinkers – Usually a 3-way rig with a swivel.
How to Rig These Sinkers
Many methods exist for using fishing weights. The following are some of the most popular methods.
- Barrel or egg sinkers are often used on a fish finder rig and "walking" or live bait rig, also a knocker rig. The knocker rig is where the fishing line is tied to a barrel swivel followed by a leader. An egg sinker is added to the leader, followed by a protective bead then the hook.
- Split Shot you place the fishing line in the groove of the split shot, which is then crimped closed with a pair of pliers (or even finger-pinched)
- Pyramid Sinker gets tied or slid on to the line above the swivel which holds the leader and hook. It is designed to holds the bait on sandy and muddy bottoms. It can also be used in a three-way rig, at the very end.
- Bullet sinkers are used commonly in Texas rigs, Carolina rigs, Florida Rigs and drop-shot rigs.
- Bell sinkers (also called bass casting and Dipsey) feature a brass loop or a lead eye at the top. Line can be fed through or tied directly to the eye. They cast well in the wind,. The rounded profile of the sinkers also reduces its chance of snagging. They are often used on a three-way rig and sabiki rigs.
- The shape of a keel bar sinker or drail works to steady and suspend the bait while trolling. It keeps the bait from twisting, revolving and tangling for a natural bait presentation. They attach directly to a lure or bait to hold it at a suspended depth. They are sometimes used with a planer.
- A bank sinker can be used at the end of the line to hold the line vertically in the water column. A loop knot joins the main line to the hook, which suspends the bait off the bottom.
- A rubber core sinker or clinch can be attached above a bait or trolling lure simply by inserting it over the fishing line at the desired spot and twisting the tab twice to secure it.
- Snagless sinkers are used for drifting or casting over a rocky and rough terrain bottoms
- Nail sinkers are inserted into plastic baits to suspend or get the bait to sink
- Pinch weights are used to pinch onto a hook or Texas rigged bait.
- Coin or flat sinkers are used with sabiki rods and rigs. Also can be used on rocky bottoms and rough terrain.
The Online Fisherman Staff